Steady Progress on Zoo Master Plan Projects
Fall is in the air! At Reid Park Zoo, this marks the beginning of event season. We started our regular hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 1 as the sun starts to rise later and, while not cool yet, we have started to see a drop in temperatures
We will kick things off with ZOOcson on October 7, our annual gala with the theme “Slow down and party” in honor of the new sloth habitat that will open at the Zoo next year. Further in the month we will have nighttime Boo at the Zoo and daytime Costumes and Critters, our children’s Halloween events that are “delightful, not too frightful!” with characters, special scenes, treats and family-friendly activities. Please note that this year we are requiring timed tickets in advance for Boo at the Zoo to reduce crowding and lines. And October 28, the adults can have their own party while raising funds for conservation at Spirits at the Zoo. This event will feature a DJ dance party, entertainment, spooky cocktails, and costume contest.
Here are our updates on upcoming projects:
Angel Charity for Children World of Play
Demolition is complete and the team is preparing for relocation of utilities, the important site work that needs to be done under the ground before the above ground work can be done. This should start in the very near future.
We are so excited that World of Play was chosen by the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences as a recipient of their Inspire! grants. This grant will be used for the new Nature Play area in World of Play, providing engaging graphics, training for specialized Nature Play Engagement Volunteers, and ongoing evaluation of how the space is being used.
We know children benefit physically, socially, emotionally, academically, and creatively from their time spent playing in nature. Whether they are exploring the space on their own or through interactions with trained volunteers, our guests can build STEM skills and mindfulness in connecting with their surroundings, encouraging them to spend more time outside — either at the Zoo or by appreciating the nature they experience in their own neighborhoods.
The additional benefit from this program is that, as these urban youth grow personally, they also will be building important social skills like sharing, teamwork, problem-solving, and empathy. They will be better equipped to empathize with other people, animals, and the planet, a skill that feels lost to so many during this time of turmoil, conflict, and worry. Amidst challenges to our planet from climate change and global pandemics, it is important to provide a respite from these tribulations and allow children to just play.
For Zoo guests: The Conservation Learning Center is open – come inside to view the bearded dragons, green tree python, and poison dart frogs while watching short features about the Zoo and conservation heroes. The presentation circle is closed during construction as it is transformed into a Nature Play area. Construction will continue to be noisy outside the Learning Center.
For Park guests: There will continue to be traffic with large vehicles and equipment on Lakeshore Lane during construction.
Thank you for your patience!
Pathway to Asia
We are continuing to see progress in design with this project. Permits have been submitted for the new parking lot and we are working on the details of logistics with construction planned to start in the fall, followed by Pathway to Asia construction next summer.
We are finalizing more details as we prepare to go into producing construction documents.
New Sloth Habitat
The final permitting process for the new sloth habitat is underway and construction will start this fall.
We love our community here at Reid Park Zoo and are excited about the future opportunities for connection and engagement that these new additions to the Zoo will bring. Thank you for your continued support. We hope to see you at the Zoo soon.